If There’s a Challenge…Community Makes It Easier
If you are truly interested in preparing to age at home in community, rather than in a managed care setting such as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), Assisted Living Facility or Skilled Care Nursing Center, then being proactive in preparing for normal life changes is critical. If you were smart, you gathered information and support in preparing for your worklife, becoming a parent, managing your budget, savings and investments. The years that follow all those developmental stages are typically filled with just as many ups and downs, but most people deny that they’re approaching “older adult” or (even more likely) “vulnerable adult” status. Aging is a fact of life, not something that can be put off by magical thinking. It demands attention or it catches you unaware and unprepared, wishing you had assembled a toolkit and an age-in-place support team. Given the huge number of people inching into post-adult life at the same time, access to adequate quality support will favor those who do.
The following information is excerpted from the draft of my soon-to-be published book, “The Live Long, Live Well Toolbox.” (working title) The Toolbook includes helpful tips and motivation on three important aspects of aging: Your home, Your Health, and Your Heart Connections.
If you’d like to be notified about the Toolbook as soon as it’s released, use this link to contact me.
At Your Service – The Life Care Manager
(c) 2018, The Live Long, Live Well Toolbook, by Sharon Lamhut Willen.
Aging Life Care™, also known as geriatric care management, is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. Working with families, the expertise of Aging Life Care Professionals provides informed, objective answers at a time of uncertainty. Their guidance leads families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers through:
- Assessment and monitoring
- Planning and problem-solving
- Education and advocacy
- Family caregiver coaching
“All members of their professional association must hold at least one of four approved certifications: care manager certified (CMC), certified case manager (CCM), certified advanced social work case manager (C-ASWCM), and/or certified social work case manager (C-SWCM). The NAPGCM website has a searchable database of members that can help you locate a geriatric care manager near you, as well as a number of other resources that may be helpful with your research.
“The Eldercare Locator is a free service of the government’s U.S. Administration on Aging and offers a database of care resources by ZIP code and category. It can provide you with a list of local agencies that may be able to offer a recommendation on geriatric care managers.
What To Ask When Considering a Professional Geriatric Care Manager
“When contacting prospective geriatric care managers, there are several questions that you will want answered to determine if they will be a good fit for you or for your loved one.
- What are your fees and payment structure (weekly, monthly, task-based billing)? Will you provide information in writing on your fees prior to beginning your services?
- What degrees and/or certifications do you have that are applicable to your role as a geriatric care manager?
- How long have you been providing care management services to clients?
- Are you available 24/7 for emergencies?
- How will you communicate information to me and how often?
- Can you provide several recent references?”
How to Work With a LifePlan Manager
Alternatives to Working With a LifePlan Manager
Geriatric care management services are not covered by most private insurance and at this time are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Services cost between $50 and $200 an hour, depending on the geographic area, with initial assessment visits of an hour and a half often charged at a higher rate. While many people find it helpful to hire a LPM for just a handful of hours—for the initial assessment, for example—many other people find that the cost, even for a few hours, is beyond their reach. If your finances don’t allow you to consider these expenses, other sources of assessment and guidance are: